Save Project vs Save Package in InstaMAT?

Good day, firstly I must state just how grateful I am for the amazing software you have created. It’s truly game-changing and a joy to work with.

One thing I am having difficulty understanding is the difference between “Save Project” and “Save Package”. Please see the following:

When I launch InstaMAT, the welcome screen shows the most recent project I have been working in:

However, on my PC, the most recently modified file is NOT this project file, but the package file I was working with:

This is very confusing for me, because BOTH the project and the package contain the same file extension (.IMP), and pressing Ctrl-S supposedly “Saves pending changes in the currently active project tab”, yet my PC shows that this project file has not been modified for an entire day:

2024-03-15 09_57_52-InstaMAT Studio - Brick Test (Stylized Bricks)

To further add to the confusion, the “Package Management” tab in InstaMAT says “Select a package object from the list to inspect it”, yet it does NOT show packages, but PROJECTS, which according to my PC, have not been saved in over a day:

If someone would be so kind to explain why this discrepancy exists or to point me to a tutorial that explains how the save system works that would be greatly appreciated. I am used to using “Save As” frequently in other applications, and every time I want to make significant changes I save the project with a new name, but it seems InstaMAT uses something much more complicated, and I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around.

Basically I want to create a material in its own project, then open that material in a new project. Next, I want to create several different saves of that new project each with their own name, and lastly see those project saves show up when I launch InstaMAT. I’d like to be able to double-click those freshly saved project files on my PC and instantly return to that version, yet when I double-click the most recently saved file on my PC, InstaMAT launches but NO project is loaded.

Thanks so much for your time and insight.

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Hello @thefifthsardonyx,

Thank you for the kind words about InstaMAT.

InstaMAT’s file type is the InstaMAT Package file (.IMP). An InstaMAT Package contains all of the related projects and resources inside it.

In InstaMAT Studio it is possible to save the project independently from the package. This is useful when working with multiple projects in the same package and they reference each other.

For example, you have an Element graph creating a material and that Element graph is used in a Layering project to texture an asset. With InstaMAT it is possible to make adjustments to the Element graph material, then save the material project, and then switch tabs to see the changes reflected in your Layering project.

Saving the package will write the changes to disk to the (.IMP) file. If you would like to save your changes to the active InstaMAT Package file, what I would recommend doing is using the Save Package command Alt/Option + S from the File menu to save the entire package to disk. This will automatically save changes to any projects within the package as well.

If you would like to use Save As, then I’d recommend using Save Package As.

The Welcome Screen shows a history of the most recently opened projects in InstaMAT Studio. Clicking on a project from there will open the package it belongs to in InstaMAT Studio and load the project.

I hope this clarifies packages and projects in InstaMAT Studio. Please let me know if you have any further questions.



Thank you so much @Pixby for the helpful reply! That definitely helps to clarify things! :smile:


You’re welcome! :smiling_face: Glad we could help!

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What a nice way to start a post, thanks for the positivity @TheFifthSardonyx


I had this question when I first started using instaMAT. After using it for a while, then I had an AHA moment. :grin: